Al-Zawra, the Iraqi Journalists Union newspaper, published "Who Kills Hostages in Iraq?" by Samir Addad and Mazin Ghazi on 19 September. A text in English has been released by BBC Monitoring International Reports. The article reports on the armed groups that are involved in violent resistance in Iraq, dividing the resistance into three categories:
- the Sunni resistance groups
- the Shi'i resistance groups
- Factions abducting and killing.
Below is an outline of the groups in these three categories:
- The main Sunni resistance groups
- The Iraqi National Islamic Resistance, "The 1920 Revolution Brigades"
- TARGETS: U.S. forces
- ORIGIN: emerged on 16 July 2003
- GOAL: Expulsion of U.S. and establishment of an independent Iraqi Islamic state
- ACTIVE REGIONS: West of Baghdad, in regions of Abu-Ghurayb, Khan Dari, and Al-Fallujah. Also has activities in the governorates of Ninawa, Diyala, and Al-Anbar.
- STATEMENTS: Distributes statements at gates of the mosques after Friday prayers. A statement issued by group on 19 August 2004 claimed that between 27 July and 7 August 2004 the group carried out an average of ten operations each day, resulting in the deaths of "dozens" of U.S. soldiers and the destruction of U.S. armored vehicles.
The National Front for the Liberation of Iraq
- The shooting down of a helicopter in the Abu-Ghurayb region by the Al-Zubayr Bin-Al-Awwam Brigade on 1 August 2004
- the shooting down of a Chinook helicopter in the Al-Nu'aymiyah region, near Al-Fallujah, by the Martyr Nur-al-Din Brigade on 9 August 2004
The Iraqi Resistance Islamic Front, JAMI
- ORIGIN: Formed days after the occupation in April 2003.
- ORGANIZATION: 10 resistance groups.
- COMPOSITION: Nationalists and Islamists.
- REGION OF ACTIVITY: Concentrated in Arbil and Kirkuk in northern Iraq; in Al-Fallujah, Samarra and Tikrit in central Iraq, and in Basra and Babil Governorates in the south, in addition to Diyala Governorate in the east.
- ACTIVITIES: Less extensive than 1920 Revolution Brigades.
Other small factions
- ORIGIN: The newest Sunni resistance group announced its existence on 30 May 2004.
- ORGANIZATION: Includes a coalition of small resistance factions. JAMI's military wing, the Salah-al-Dinand Sayf-Allahal-Maslul Brigades, has carried out dozens of operations against the U.S. forces.
- REGION OF ACTIVITY: Governorates of Ninawa and Diyala.
- ACTIVITIES: In Ninawa Governorate: the shelling of the occupation command headquarters and the semi-daily shelling of the Mosul airport. Jami targets members of the U.S. intelligence in the Al-Faysaliyah area in Mosul and in the governorate of Diyala. In Diyala, the front's Al-Rantisi Brigade sniped a U.S. soldier and used mortars to shell Al-Faris Airport.
- Hamzah Faction: Emerged on 10 October 2003 in Al-Fallujah. Called for release of Shaykh Jamal Nidal, who had been arrested by U.S. forces.
- Iraqi Liberation Army: First appeared on 15 July, 2003. It warned foreign countries against sending troops to Iraq and pledged to attack any troops that were sent.
- Awakening and Holy War: Arab Sunni mujahidin. Active in Al-Fallujah. Filmed an operation and sent tape to Iranian television on 7 July 2003. Claimed on tape that Saddam and U.S. were two sides of same coin. Claims to have carried out operations against U.S. forces in Al-Fallujah and other cities.
- The White Flags: A group of Arab Sunni mujahidin, active in Sunni triangle and probably in other areas. Originally opposed to Saddam Hussein and in alliance with the Muslim Youths and Muhammad's Army. The group criticized the bombing of the Jordanian Embassy in Baghdad. No information is available about their operations.
- Al-Haqq Army: Consists of Arab Sunni Muslims having some nationalistic tendencies but not loyal to Saddam.
- CHARACTER: Loyal to previous regime of Saddam Hussein. Do not represent a significant proportion of resistance.
- ACTIVITIES: Mostly restricted to financing resistance operations.
- COMPOSITION: The factions still existing secretly in the Iraqi arena include:
Shi'i resistance against occupation
- Al-Awdah (The Return): Concentrated in northern Iraq: Samarra, Tikrit, Al-Dur and Mosul. It consists of members of the former intelligence apparatus.
- Saddam's Fedayeen: Formed by Saddam Hussein's regime before the invasion. Many of its members are rumored to have abandoned their loyalty to Saddam and to have joined Islamic and national groups on the side of the 11 September Revolutionary Group and the Serpent's Head Movement.
- Al-Sadr group: The Al-Mahdi Army
Imam Ali Bin-Abi-Talib Jihadi Brigades
- ORIGIN: The Al-Mahdi Army is considered the only militia experiment to emerge after the occupation. Shi'i leader Muqtada al-Sadr announced the formation of the Al-Mahdi Army in July 2003, but not as a force directed against the occupation.
- COMPOSITION: Within a short period, Al-Sadr gathered between 10,000 and 15,000 well-trained youths, the majority of whom were from the poor of the Al-Sadr City, Al-Shu'lah, and the southern cities.
- ACTIVITIES: after the closure of Al-Sadr's Al-Hawzah newspaper in March 2004,Al-Sadr's assistant Mustafa al-Ya'qubi is arrested, under suspicion of being involved in the killing of Imam Abd-al-Majid al-Khu'i. A writ to arrest Muqtada al-Sadr is issued in April on charges of assassinating Al-Khu'i inside the Al-Haydari mosque in Al-Najaf on 10 April 2003. The arrest warrant placed the Al-Mahdi Army in confrontation with the occupation forces in Baghdad and the southern governorates. The greatest confrontation between this militia and the occupation forces erupted in Al-Najaf in August 2004. The battle lasted for nearly three weeks, and ended with the signing of a cease-fire agreement.
Factions which adopt terrorist methods of abductions and killing -- Armed groups that resort to operations of abducting and killing noncombatant foreigners, as a method to terrorize the enemy and apply pressure to achieve specific political ends. This method of terror was successful in pressuring Philippine President Gloria Macapagol-Arroyo to withdraw the Philippine forces from the U.S.-led coalition, after the abduction of her compatriot Angelo del Cruz on 7 July 2004.
- ORIGIN: This Shi'i group appeared for the first time on 12 October 2003.
- TARGETS: The group announced its intention to kill the soldiers of any country sending its troops to support the coalition forces. The group also threatened to transfer the battleground to the territories of coalition countries. The group also threatened to assassinate all the members of the Interim
Governing Council and any Iraqi cooperating with the coalition forces.
- REGION OF PROJECTED ACTIVITIES: The group announced that Al-Najaf and Karbala were the battlegrounds in which it would target the US forces.
The most prominent of these groups are:
- Assadullah Brigades
Islamic Retaliation Movement:This group abducted the US Marine of Lebanese origin, Wasif Ali Hassun, on 19 July 2004, and then released him.Islamic Anger Brigades: This group abducted 15 Lebanese in June 2004 and then released all, except for one: Husayn Ulayyan, an employee of a communications company, who was killed.Khalid-Bin-al-Walid Brigades and Iraq's Martyrs Brigades: This group is believed to have abducted and killed Italian journalist Enzo Bladoni in August 2004.The Black Flags Group: A battalion of the Secret Islamic Army. This group abducted three Indians, two Kenyans and an Egyptian working for a Kuwaiti company operating in Iraq. The stated aim was to coerce the company to cease its activities in Iraq. The hostages were later released.
- STATEMENT: The brigades said in a statement number 50: "The mujahid is entitled to capture any infidel that enters Iraq, whether he works for a construction company or in any other job, because he could be warrior, and the mujahid has the right to kill him or take him as a prisoner."
- REGION OF ACTIVITIES: This group is concentrated in Baghdad and its suburbs.
- NOTABLE ACTIVITIES: This group detained the third most senior diplomat at the Egyptian Embassy to Iraq, Muhammad Mamduh Hilmi Qutb, in July 2004, after the Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmad Nazif announced that Egypt was prepared to offer its security expertise to the interim Iraqi government. The diplomat was released after a week.
The last four groups are clearly intellectually close to the beliefs and thinking of Al-Qa'idah Organization and its leader, Usamah Bin-Ladin.
- The Abu-Mus'ab al-Zarqawi Group: "The first case of slaughter was that of US national Nicholas Berg in May 2004, and the Abu-Mus'ab al-Zarqawi group claimed responsibility for it."
- The Al-Tawhid wa al-Jihad Group: the Al-Tawhid wa al-Jihad Group killed South Korean Kim Il, "who was working for a Korean company providing the US Army with military installations." [sic -- Most sources identify Al-Zarqawi's group as one and the same as Al-Tawhid wa Al-jihad]
- The Islamic Army in Iraq: "A secret organization that adopts the ideology of Al-Qa'idah. The organization abducted Iranian Consul Feredion Jahani and the two French journalists, Georges Malbrunot and Christian Chesnot."
- Ansar al-Sunnah Movement: In August 2004, the Ansar al-Sunna Movement abducted 12 Nepalese and killed them on 23 August 2004.
The operations of abducting hostages has cascaded in Iraq: some have been slaughtered, and others have been released.
"The total number of hostages killed so far is: two Italians, two [now three] US nationals, two Pakistanis, one Egyptian, one Turk, one Lebanese, one Bulgarian, one South Korean, and 12 Nepalese."
Labels: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al Qaeda, Al-Mahdi Army, Al-Qa'idah, Al-Qaeda, Al-Qaida, hostages, Iraq, Nicholas Berg, Saddam Hussein